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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED APPROACHES FOR IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY OF MORONE AND OTHER WARM WATER FISH PRODUCTION

Location: Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center

Title: Comparative cost analysis of hybrid striped bass fingerling production in ponds and tanks

Authors
item Eklund, Patty -
item Engle, Carole -
item Ludwig, Gerald -

Submitted to: North American Journal of Aquaculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 25, 2011
Publication Date: January 30, 2012
Citation: Eklund, P., Engle, C., Ludwig, G. 2012. Comparative cost analysis of hybrid striped bass fingerling production in ponds and tanks. North American Journal of Aquaculture. 74(1):39-53.

Interpretive Summary: Farm cash flow and consistency of market supply of hybrid striped bass would improve if fingerling hybrid striped bass were available year round. Pond production of hybrid striped bass fingerlings is seasonal and precludes year round supply. Tank culture methods have been developed to produce hybrid striped bass fingerlings indoors throughout the year, but the associated costs have not been estimated or compared with pond production costs. This study compared the cost to produce hybrid striped bass fingerlings in ponds or in indoor tanks. Bioeconomic models were developed to evaluate production in different sized ponds and tanks, and to evaluate a range of annual total fingerling production. The results demonstrated that there are economies of scale in terms of the volume of production and the size of the production unit. Overall, pond production per 1,000 fingerlings was substantially less expensive than tank production, even accounting for the increased number of annual production cycles in tanks. Production costs were sensitive to survival rates in both ponds and tanks; costs in both systems can be reduced by about 10% for each 5% improvement in survival. Additional research is recommended to develop culture methods to improve survival in both early fry rearing and after training fish to feed on dry feed in both ponds and tanks.

Technical Abstract: Year-round production of hybrid striped bass (female white bass Morone chrysops×male striped bass M. saxatilis) fingerlings would allow food fish growers to sell their product throughout the year, which would improve the consistency of market supply and cash flow for the farm. However, pond production of fingerlings is seasonal and precludes year-round supply. Tank culture methods have been developed to produce hybrid striped bass fingerlings indoors throughout the year, but the associated costs have not been estimated or compared with pond production costs. Economic engineering techniques were used to estimate production costs for phase I hybrid striped bass fingerlings in ponds (0.4, 1.2, or 2.4 ha) and tanks (945, 2,457, or 5,670 L) for production scales of 50,000, 100,000, 250,000, 500,000, 1,000,000, or 2,000,000 fingerlings per year. The results demonstrated that there are economies of scale in terms of the volume of production and the size of the production unit. Overall, pond production per 1,000 fingerlings was substantially less expensive than tank production, even accounting for the increased number of annual production cycles in tanks. Production costs were sensitive to survival rates and can be reduced by 7–14% and 5–11% for each 5% improvement in survival in ponds and tanks, respectively. Substituting microcyst brine shrimp for rotifers Artemia spp. in the diet may have the potential to reduce the tank costs of producing hybrid striped bass depending on fingerling survival beyond 14 d posthatch. Additional research is needed to improve overall fingerling survival both during the early fry rearing stage and after training to dry feed.

Last Modified: 11/24/2014
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